LGBTQ Addiction Statistics

How Addiction Affects the LGBTQ Community

If someone you love identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ), you know the challenges they face every day. Not only are they at risk for bullying and violence, but the stress they encounter also makes them more likely to develop substance use disorders. LGBTQ addiction statistics from federally funded research show they have higher rates of addiction than heterosexuals.

LGBTQ Addiction Statistics

The 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health compared sexual minorities’ substance use with that of heterosexuals and came up with these LBGTQ addiction statistics:

  • Approximately 1 in 3 LGBTQ individuals over the age of 18 said they used marijuana the previous year, twice as many as heterosexuals.
  • Approximately 9% of adults from sexual minority groups reported opioid use versus 3.8% of adults in the general population.
  • Approximately 12.4 young adults reported problems with alcohol, compared to 10.1% in the overall population.

Additional research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that gay men often have alcohol use disorders and continue drinking late in life. A 2020 study found gay women have higher rates of alcohol and drug use than other sexual minorities. LGBTQ individuals also report higher rates of smoking and tobacco use than their heterosexual peers.

Federally funded studies of alcohol and drug use among LGBTQ individuals are relatively new. In 2015, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health included two questions about sexual orientation for the first time.

Addiction and Dual Diagnosis Disorders

LGBTQ addiction statistics also show that addicts who identify as LGBTQ often have more severe addictions when they enter rehab, but there is little research into treatment and outcomes for different populations. Co-occurring conditions are higher among sexual minorities. Depression is more common in bisexual men and women, and transgender children and teens are at higher risk for eating disorders, suicidal behavior, self-harm, and depression than the general population. Sexual minorities also face higher odds of HIV caused by risky behavior and intravenous drug use. Rehab lowers the rate of HIV infections and reduces risky behavior.

Around 50% of individuals with serious mental conditions also have a problem with substance abuse. A dual diagnosis, or comorbidity, is the name for two or more disorders that occur at the same time in the same person. Stress, genetics, and a history of trauma play a role, but it works both ways. Mental conditions contribute to substance use disorder when people self-medicate to feel better. Both addiction and substance use disorder can change the brain and increase the likelihood of a mental disorder.

New Jersey Detox and LGBTQ-Friendly Rehab

Compassionate care is a requirement for successful detox and recovery, and LGBTQ-friendly rehab is a must. A relatively new option, holistic rehab integrates 24/7 medical supervision with alternative health therapies. Whether individuals come from sexual minorities or difficult childhoods, the best approach for recovery is a well-rounded program that supports emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being.

At Enlightened Solutions, we provide around-the-clock medical supervision, but we also offer family therapy, disciplines like yoga and meditation, and alternative healing practices to build confidence and prevent relapse. Contact us today for more information about New Jersey detox for the LGBTQ community.

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